Tensions rise as North Korea continues to ramp up it’s nuclear ballistic weapons program conducting it’s sixth and largest nuclear test last weekend, demonstrating that it’s one step closer to achieving a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the US mainland.
North Korea, pursuing it’s nuclear and missile program in defiance of international condemnation said it would respond to any new U.N. sanctions and U.S. pressure with “powerful counter measures”, and accusing the United States of aiming for war.
On Thursday US president Trump said he’d prefer not to use military action to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat” but “U.S. military action against North Korea cannot be ruled out”.
Trump stated it would be a “very, very sad day” for North Korea” if we do use military force. “Military force is something that certainly could happen...Our military has never been stronger,” boasting about the U.S. increases in military spending since he took office in January.
“Each day new equipment is delivered, new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world, the best anywhere in the world by far,” Trump told reporters.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters that China agrees the U.N. Security Council should more action against Pyongyang but also kept pushing for dialogue to help resolve the conflict.
“Any new actions taken by the international community against the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs, while at the same time be conducive to restarting dialogue and consultation,” he said, referring to North Korea by the initials of it’s official name, the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea.
China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 92 percent of two-way trade last year.
According to a draft resolution seen by Reuters on Wednesday, The United States is asking the U.N. Security Council to impose an oil embargo on North Korea, ban it’s exports of textiles and the hiring of North Korean laborers abroad, and to subject North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to an asset freeze and travel ban.
A U.N. Security Council diplomat questioned what leverage the draft would leave the Security Council if North Korea continued to conduct nuclear and ballistic missile testing.
“Russia and China are not on board with the content of the resolution,” the diplomat said. The United States has said it wants the draft resolution to be voted on Monday.
During an economic forum in Vladivostok Russia, North Korean diplomates stated ”we will respond to the barbaric plotting around sanctions and pressure by the United States with powerful counter measures of our own.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke in Vladivostok agreeing to try to persuade China and Russia to cut off oil to North Korea as much as possible, according to South Korean officials.
North Korea accused South Korea and Japan of “dirty politics”. North Korea says it needs weapons to protect itself from U.S. aggression.
An official, speaking on condition of anonymity said there is a grave risk that North Korea could “miscalculate” the U.S. response to it’s weapons testing and warned Pyongyang not to under-estimate Washington’s resolve.